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Do industrial wind turbines have a place in Orleans County?  

Gary Kent wrote a very informative and interesting article about Orleans County’s attraction and charm (MJR 2/6/08). Having been a resident of the county for 46 years, I very much agree with Gary’s assessment.

Gary mentions his informal interviews with county residents when he was campaigning. It is interesting to note some of the reasons he discovered that people are moving into the county. He states that “A variety of things seem to account for significant numbers of new arrivals. Among the more frequently mentioned is the physical environment including open space …” Gary also alludes to a bird expert who has studied in South Africa and Australia commenting on the great variety of birds in Orleans County. Gary also notes that many homes, commercial and government buildings have architectural as well as historic significance. This includes Greek Revival, cobblestone, Medina sandstone and Victorian homes. Examples of such architecture may be found in all the county’s villages. There are also distinctive, 19th century barns scattered throughout the county lending historic ambiance to the quiet country landscape. To quote Gary, “Orleans County is, in effect, a tranquil island in a sea of turmoil.”

So, do industrial wind turbines have a place in Orleans County?

From my observation of what has happened in the Tug Hill area of New York and other areas where industrial wind turbines have been installed I would say if that happened in Orleans County many of the virtues of the county including its description as “a tranquil island in a sea of turmoil,” would no longer be so.

The open space would be disrupted by 400-foot industrial wind turbines. About 80 industrial wind turbines are being considered for just the towns of Albion and Gaines. These alien looking turbines would greatly detract from the historical ambiance created by the unique historical architecture of this cobblestone country. The tranquility would be greatly reduced by the noise and flicker of these giant turbines. There is mounting research indicating environmental dangers. Some of these dangers range from destruction of birds and bats to increased lightning strikes, fires in the turbines, oil leaks, parts dropping, blades and ice being thrown in some cases over 1,500 feet and in a few cases the turbine tower collapsing. Also there is increasing evidence that people living within a zero to three mile radius of the gigantic turbines are experiencing health problems. Such health problems are categorized as VAD or Vibroacoustic Disease. VAD is caused by the low frequency infrasonic sound vibrations of the industrial wind turbines. Health problems seem to manifest in many ways. There have been effects reported in cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological and renal functioning. Also there are reports from some areas hosting industrial wind turbines of children having difficulties in their schooling with a drop in performance. One family that abandoned their home near industrial wind turbines found that their health and their children’s school performance returned to normal after leaving the area.

So I encourage residents of Orleans County to seriously look into the mounting research on the effects of industrial wind turbines and voice their concerns. Be informed about what it might mean to have industrial wind turbines in our isle of tranquility.

Would people seek to live in Orleans County if its landscape was cluttered with industrial wind turbines with their potential for health and environmental dangers? For more information visit the Web sites wind-watch.org and wind action.org.

John Mosher lives in Albion.

The Journal-Register

21 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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